Sunday , Feb , 26 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pierce leads Celtics past Lakers

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce scored 39 points and hit the
winning free throw with 3.2 seconds left to catapult Boston to a 112-111
victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ryan Gomes tallied a career-high 19 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while
Delonte West posted 19 points and a career-best 10 assists for the Celtics,
who have won two in a row and five of their last seven contests.

Kobe Bryant led the way with 40 points for the Lakers, but he had just three
in the final quarter. Bryant also ended with eight rebounds and six assists,
but the Lakers fell for the second consecutive time. Brian Cook ended with 19
points, while Lamar Odom contributed 14 points, 10 boards and seven assists
for Los Angeles.

Orien Greene made 1-of-2 free throw attempts with 19.7 seconds left to give
Boston a 111-108 lead, but Lamar Odom drove the lane for a basket and was
fouled by Wally Szczerbiak with 15.3 seconds remaining. Odom canned the free
throw to tie the game.

Pierce, who also had seven rebounds, challenged Bryant at the other end and
Kobe committed a small foul from behind. Pierce made his first attempt, but
missed the second, and LA’s Luke Walton tracked down the rebound with 1.7
seconds remaining.

Following a timeout, Bryant received the inbounds pass, but his fadeaway shot
from near the top of the arc caromed off the backboard and rim as time
expired.

Szczerbiak tallied 16 points for Boston, which shot 52.6 percent from the
field.

Smush Parker had 13 points for the Lakers.

Los Angeles held a 25-24 lead after one quarter and upped that margin to 58-54
at the half. However, Boston came through with 37 third-quarter points to
seemingly take control. An 18-4 run pushed the Celtics to a 79-65 lead
following a West jam with 5:19 remaining in the quarter.

The Lakers were still behind 91-82 going into the fourth and trailed 108-101
with just under four minutes left. However, solid defense. helped by a
spectacular block from Ronny Turiaf allowed LA to even the score.

Bryant hit two free throws with 45.5 seconds left to get LA within 110-108.
Turiaf then blocked Szczerbiak at the other end before Bryant’s shot in the
paint bounced off the rim to set up the final seconds.

Game Notes

Bryant was 15-of-17 at the foul line, while Pierce was 14-of-21…The Lakers
held the edge on the boards, 43-35…Boston had lost three straight on the
road versus the Lakers.

BOS LAL